The Independent Travel Guide
combines the best ideas and info on ways to
maximize the overseas experience by avoiding
the superficial tourist routine. The most economical
and rewarding way to travel and live abroad
is to do it like a native. Whether for a short
vacation or a longer stay, whether solo or with
a travel companion, Transitions Abroad has long
been known as the premier tool for intelligent
independent travelers—where to go, who
to see, what to do, and how to get off the bus
tour and beyond the postcards. The featured
articles below reflect this perspective on traveling
independently as a means of immersion in the
host culture. —Founding
Publisher and Editor Dr. Clay Hubbs
||Why I Travel: The Impact of Exploring the World by Senior Contributing Editor Lies Ouwerkerk
An illustrated essay by a long-time traveler exploring questions regarding what motivates her endless voyages to all region of the earth.
Travel: Myths and Realities by
As if my sometimes off-limits travel destinations
are not frowned upon enough already, my preference
for solo travel seems even more reason to doubt my
sanity. "You must often feel lonely" friends
and colleagues use to say in pity, "don't you
hate to eat alone all the time?" The truth is
that when I travel on my own, I am hardly ever alone...
||Does Travel Make You “Liberal"?
Author and essayist Robert Reid explores whether and how travel may result in more liberal views of the world over time.
Tips From a Seasoned Solo Traveler: How to Make
the Most of Your Travels Abroad by
Advice derived from years of independent travel,
mistakes and all, by one who has seen the world from
Ways You Are Already An Explorer
Amy Gigi Alexander, Solo Travel
"Exploration today is about our own human
potential—whether it is an inner journey
or one based on discovery outside of ourselves."
Potts on Long-Term Travel: An Interview
Rolf Potts, often called the "Jack
Kerouac of the Internet Age" and author of the inspiring immediate classic
Vagabonding, tells Dr. Clay A. Hubbs what motivates his travel writing and ponders
the self-imposed limitations which prevent many from traveling independently
to Make a Great Travel Itinerary by
Some say a trip’s rewards come at an inverse relationship
with anticipation. The less you think about it beforehand,
the greater it will be. It’s awful advice, really.
Planning a trip—and getting excited from all the
planning—is half the fun of travel. And that’s the
only way you can be sure you’re going to have a personalized
trip you really want.
So here are some ways to do that.
to Be a Travel Show-Off by Robert
Robert Reid holds a mirror up to those with a compulsive
love for bragging about about their travels, either
overtly or through what some have called the "humblebrag," and
offers some friendly suggestions.
to Dislike a Destination by Robert
Good travelers do not treat a destination like a restaurant,
like impatient consumers, and offer peoples and cultures
every chance with an open mind, even if initial experiences
are not always equally overwhelming.
to Fall in Love with the Flatlands by
Mountains are nice to look at, but they tend to get
in the way of a view.
to Be an Ugly American by Robert
In his new column, prolific traveler and travel writer
Robert Reid both brings to light the historical stereotype
and debunks the myth of the 'Ugly American' traveler
while exploring an image that no longer applies, even
using worldwide surveys to support his observations.
to Pack Light for Independent Travel Abroad:
Tips and Checklists
Practical strategies and checklists to help you travel
light and avoid the mistakes many make by taking far
too much on the road.
||Why Zimbabwe is the Best Safari Destination for Ethical Travelers by Rebecca Shapiro
Zimbabwe is undergoing a positive transformation, and is now home to many great ethical safari companies who provide much-needed income to locals while protecting the animals and land.
||Six Travel Tips to Make the Most of Solo Travel
An experienced globetrotter shares his advice on how he does it.
your Laptop Computer Overseas
For the past years I have had one faithful companion
on many overseas trips: my laptop computer. While
this companionship has not been without challenges,
I have found my computer to be an indispensable tool
on most of my travels, especially on long-term trips.
As a travel writer and researcher, my laptop is a
necessary tool to work on stories and meet research
Your Laptop and Sensitive Information Abroad
Nora Dunn explores ways to increase security for the sensitive
information you store on your laptop computer while traveling
independently abroad, and interviews an expert.
for Travel Abroad: Gathering and Traveling with Official
Nora Dunn discusses how to most safely travel abroad with all
your legal documents in order and backed up in several ways.
Finances Securely While Traveling Abroad
Nora Dunn offers her practical inside tips.
Wonders: Lots to Wonder About
Rob Sangster reflects on the recent designations
of the Seven Wonders of the World and suggests that we at first
understand what they represented in times past, while realizing
the many wonders which are less well-known or those which are
important to our independent hearts and souls.
Independent Travel Reports
||10 Creative Alternatives for Solo Travelers to Wine and Dine in Paris by Lies
Imaginative and off-the-beaten-path experiences for foodies in a city with a very rich and varied culinary tradition.
||Budget Vacation Apartment and Home Rentals in Europe by Lies Ouwerkerk
Vacation rentals in Europe provide a comfortable, often inexpensive, and immersive way to travel while also allowing you to enjoy local hospitality. You can live in the rhythm of locals, cook when you wish, sightsee when the mood strikes you, meet your budget needs, and experience your trip at the pace you wish.
||Guanajuato, Mexico: Love at First Sight by Lies Ouwerkerk
An illustrated guide—with key background information in the form of a narrative—to one of the most beautiful cities in a country with a complex history, people, and a rich culture.
||Five Unforgettable Adventures in South Africa by Ted Campbell
Adventures in South Africa, where the realities for a traveler far exceed what can ever be imagined
Ethnic and Cultural Diversity: Along Yunnan’s
Ancient Tea and Horse Caravan Road by
A beautifully-illustrated voyage deep into the diverse
Yunnan tea and horse caravan road in China leads to
a plethora of interesting rituals and experiences
with the many local subcultures.
Travel in Yogyakarta, Indonesia by
Yogyakarta, Indonesia is so very rich in culture and
natural beauty, and is an ideal destination for the
Travel in Tana Toraja, Sulawesi, Indonesia by
A richly illustrated voyage to the land, culture,
and people who practice a unique and very colorful
form of animism.
the Footsteps of Field Biologist Alfred Wallace:
Exploring the Islands of the Indonesian Archipelago by
An extraordinary and visually compelling voyage following
Darwin's contemporary and collaborator path through
the islands of Indonesia on a "Pinisi."
Along With the Nomads of Mongolia’s Wild West by
Lies wanders with a Mongolian tribe and immerses herself,
to the extent possible, in a ritualized life which
is at once simple yet full of symbolism, purity, and
beauty. She is taken into the yurt she helps build,
and is fed, told stories while witnessing events held
by her very hosts, and generally treated with a hospitality
that is hard to imagine living in such rough lands.
Paro Tshechu Festival
An Expression of Gross National Happiness in the Land
of the Thunder Dragon by Lies Ouwerkerk
Lies takes you inside a sacred festival in the “world’s
last Shangri-la," as Bhutan often has been dubbed,
and provides an in-depth and illustrated explanation
of the colorful dances and rituals.
Through Laos, At Last by Sheila
...There is plenty to learn...about in Laos, but plenty
also to enjoy. Now, with a government softening toward
the foreign visitors, its people are finally getting
their piece of the tourism pie. Go now, while most
of the country retains its pastoral pace!
Drinking, Smoking, Womanizing Saint by
Ted Campbell describes a paradoxical saint worshipped
in Guatemala, San Simon, or Maximon—the same
guy with two names. San Simon is the unrecognized
Spanish saint, and Maximon is the Mayan shaman. He
is the primary saint in Guatemala and you can see
effigies to him everywhere, some in special shrines
which change houses every year, and some in less likely
places like bars or worse. He always looks somewhat
the same—with a mustache, cowboy hat, cigarette
hanging from his mouth, and surrounded by any number
of colorful and odd decorations...
Travel in Japan by Lies Ouwerkerk
When my plane touches down on Tokyo's Narita airport,
I sense a split-second of panic: will I be able to
survive in this totally unknown territory without
one word of Japanese or the ability to decipher Japanese
Beauties of the Far East: Japan’s Ryokan,
South Korea’s Hanok, and Mongolia’s Ger by
In the Far East, traditional inns or guesthouses are
some of the best ways to travel independently and
immerse yourself in the local culture for a more authentic
of Trains: Where the Journey is the Destination by
An excerpt from Nora Dunn's new ebook where she offers
fascinating travel immersion stories of train trips
and routes worldwide, short and long, famous and lesser
a Campervan Trip in Australia by
by way of a campervan is a classic road trip. Many
areas of this vast country are remote enough that
in order to enjoy the quiet splendor of the Australian
landscape you need to be relatively self-sufficient.
And Australian campervan holidays are not only a popular
option for those visiting from overseas, but native
Australians are also renowned for loving the campervan
and caravan circuit."
Botswana by Rob Sangster
A safari (Swahili for "journey") experience in
Botswana reveals not only incredible wildlife but
a new emphasis on ecology.
Backpacking Through Europe
Practical tips and perspectives
on solo backpacking through Europe.
|Explore a Reef Hideaway in Belize
Daniel Gabriel reveals a spectacular and still-affordable location in Belize where beauty and adventure is accessible everywhere.
Trails: Journey Through the Bolivian and Peruvian Andes
Martin Li takes us on a fascinating cultural and historical
journey retracing the ancient Inca Trails through the Bolivian
and Peruvian Andes.
the Land of the Gods: Exploring India's Buddhist Heritage
Volker Poelzl travels through the beautiful Spiti valley of
Northern India, where he discovers a rich yet isolated culture
steeped in Buddhism.
Larry Morgan provides inside tips on trekking in the Himalayas
and supplements his report with excellent resources and some
breathtaking photos from his own journey in Nepal.
Travel in South America
Volker Poelzl provides advice, inside tips, and essential resources
for planning air travel in South America.
Travel in South America
Volker Poelzl provides inside tips and essential resources
for planning independent overland travel in South America via
bus, train, car, and even hitchhiking.
Travel in Europe
Volker Poelzl describes the options for overland travel in
Europe — where the many great solo travel choices include
trains, buses, and cars.
Travel in South America
Volker Poelzl provides inside tips for planning independent
passenger boat travel in South America.
Tips for Travel in South America
Volker Poelzl offers essential safety tips for those traveling
to South America.
to Dalat: Gem of Vietnam's Highlands
John Lander conveys in words and pictures his impressions of
what is often called the "Petit Paris."
Other Middle East: Perception Is Not Reality in Oman
Alison Gardner finds that Oman does not conform to the stereotypical
views of a Middle-Eastern country, and was overwhelmed by the
hospitality and the culture.
Cordillera Apolobamba: An Inca Trail Less Traveled
Martin Li describes his explorations on an Incan
in Bolivia: Bumping Along the Jesuit Missions Circuit
Amy Stix Miller describes a bus ride along the Jesuit Missions
Circuit in Bolivia, so very rich in religious art.
Day in Montenegro
Rob Sangster immerses himself in the life and politics of an
ancient land which is working to become a cultural travel destination.
|Independent Travel Along Croatia's Coast: Between the Mountains and
Travel tips for those visiting the beautiful
and historic coast of Croatia.
from Ethiopia: Visitors to Africa's "Best-Kept Secret" Receive
Clay Hubbs reports from the land of Ethiopia where the tourists
are few yet the land and people are transcendently beautiful.
in Asia: A Guide for First Time Visitors
Amelie de Mahy provides the inside tips for travelers on their
initial trip to the Far East.
with Gorillas: Tracking Mountain Gorillas in Southwest
Thor Hanson reports his experience tracking mountain
gorillas in southwest Uganda.
Off-Season: Take a Trip through History
Barbara Bode was so entranced by the multi-layered
history and the charms of the island of Malta, she moved there.
She has painted for us a fascinating tease in vivid colors.
Visit to Soweto
Lucy Corne describes her experience in a historically rich
township in South Africa as an independent traveler, where
she was both overwhelmed by the hospitality of the natives
and learned that many of her preconceptions were not based